Dr Marianna Bolognesi

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Marianna Bolognesi, PhD.

Research Associate at Creative Multilingualism, Junior Research Fellow at Jesus College



Marianna Bolognesi’s research focuses on how abstract thought and on how metaphors enable humans to conceptualise, express and represent intangible concepts through words (in language) and through images (in visual communication).

Between 2015 and 2017 Marianna Bolognesi worked as a EU-MarieCurie awarded research fellow at the Metaphor Lab Amsterdam, where she still coordinates the research area on Metaphor and Multimodality. She is also member of the executive board of the RaAM International Association for Researching and Applying Metaphor.

Her research bridges psychological (behavioral) methods with semi-automated methods for language modeling (distributional semantics), and corpus analyses. 

Marianna Bolognesi received her PhD from the University of Torino, Italy, where she worked on the structure of the mental lexicon in native speakers and foreign learners.


Selected Publications (full CV and full list of publications at this link)

  1. Bolognesi M., Despot K., Brdar M. (Eds.) (accepted). Fantastic Metaphors and where to find them. Building Repositories of Figurative Language: Methods, Risks, and Challenges. Amsterdam: Benjamins Publishing Company.
  2. Bolognesi M., Timmermans B., Aroyo L. (accepted). VisMet and the crowd: What does social tagging reveal about visual metaphors? In M. Bolognesi, M. Brdar, K. Despot (Eds.) Fantastic Metaphors and where to find them. Building Repositories of Figurative Language: Methods, Risks, and Challenges. Amsterdam: Benjamins Publishing Company.
  3. Bolognesi M., Steen G. (Eds.) (forth.). Perspectives on abstract concepts: From cognitive processing to semantic representation. Amsterdam: Benjamins Publishing Company.
  4. Bolognesi M., Strik-Lievers F. (2019). How language and image construct synaesthetic metaphors in print advertising. Visual Communication. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1470357218782001
  5. Bolognesi, M. (2018). Book Review of Multimodal Metaphor and Metonymy in Advertising. John Benjamins Publishing Company. Language and Cognition, 14, 1-8.
  6. Bolognesi M., Steen G. (2018). Editors’ Introduction: Abstract concepts: Structure, processing and modeling. TopiCS in Cognitive Science, 10 (3), 490-500.
  7. Bolognesi M., Steen G. (Eds.) (2018). Abstract concepts: Structure, processing and modeling. TopiCS in Cognitive Science, 10 (3).
  8. Bolognesi, M. Van den Heerik R., Van den Berg E. (2018) VisMet: a corpus of visual metaphors. In G. Steen (ed.) Visual Metaphor: structure and process (pp. 89-114). Amsterdam: Benjamins Publishers.
  9. Bolognesi M., Aina L. (2017). Similarity is Closeness: Using Distributional Semantic Spaces to model Similarity in Visual and Linguistic Metaphors. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cllt-2016-0061
  10. Bolognesi M., Pilgram R., Van den Heerik R. (2017). Reliability in semantic categorization: the case of semantic features norms. Behavior Research Methods, 49(6), 1984–2001.
  11. Bolognesi M. (2017). Using semantic features norms to investigate how the visual and verbal modes afford metaphor construction and expression. Language and Cognition, 9(3), 525-552.
  12. Bolognesi M. (2017) Grammatica visiva e apprendimento: aspetti semiotici delle vignette di Valico e trasposizione verbale nelle descrizioni di anglofoni. In E. Corino, C. Onesti (eds.) Italiano di Apprendenti. Studi a partire da Valico e Vinca (pp.21-40). Roma: Guerra.
  13. Bolognesi M. (2017). Conceptual metaphors and metaphorical expressions in images. In A. Baicchi, E. Pinelli (eds.) Cognitive modelling in language and discourse across cultures (pp.367-383), Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  14. Bolognesi M. (2016) Flickr Distributional Tagspace: Evaluating the Semantic Spaces emerging from Flickr Tags Distributions. In M. Jones (ed.) Big Data in Cognitive Science (pp. 144-173). New York: Routledge.
  15. Bolognesi M. (2016) Metaphors, bilingual mental lexicon and distributional models. In E. Gola, F. Ervas (eds.) Metaphor and Communication (pp.105-122). Benjamin Publishing Company, Amsterdam.
  16. Bolognesi M. (2016). Modeling semantic similarity between metaphor terms of visual vs linguistic metaphors through Flickr tag distributions. Frontiers in Communication, 1:9  
  17. Bolognesi M., Bichisecchi, R. (2014). Metaphors in dreams: where cognitive linguistics meets psychoanalysis. Language and Psychoanalysis, 3(1), 4-22.
  18. Bolognesi M. (2014) Distributional Semantics meets Embodied Cognition. In Selected Papers from the 4th UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference, 18-35.
  19. Bichisecchi, R., Bolognesi, M. (2014). La metafora onirica tra linguistica cognitiva e psicoanalisi. Quaderni di psicoterapia comparata, 3, 223-245.
  20. Bolognesi M. (2011). Il lessico mentale bilingue e gli spazi semantici distribuzionali: e similarità tra i verbi in L1, in L2 e nei corpora. Studi di Glottodidattica, 5(2), 51-72.
  21. Bolognesi M. (2011). Il Lessico Mentale Bilingue, i Legami Semantici e quelli Episodici, un esperimento. Studi di Glottodidattica, 5(1), 64-71.


Articles for the large public


Bolognesi, M. (2018). How language shapes your thoughts – what researchers know. The Conversation, UK.



Bolognesi, M., Strik Lievers, F. (2018). The coded images that let advertisers target all our senses at once. The Conversation, UK.


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